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[size=36]THE SECRETARY-GENERAL - MESSAGE ON WORLD POPULATION DAY 11 July 2019[/size]
Thursday, 11 July 2019
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization.
While the world’s population overall continues to increase, this growth is uneven. For many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change. Other countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations, including the need to promote healthy active ageing and to provide adequate social protection. As the world continues to urbanize, with 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth.
While managing these population trends, we must also recognize the relationship between population, development and individual well-being. Twenty-five years ago, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), world leaders first spelt out the links between population, development and human rights, including reproductive rights. They also recognized that promoting gender equality is both the right thing to do and one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved well-being for all.
This year's World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the Cairo ICPD Conference.
Despite progress in lowering maternal mortality and unintended pregnancies, many challenges remain. Around the world, we are seeing pushback on women’s rights, including on essential health services. Issues related to pregnancy are still the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. Gender-based violence, which is rooted in inequality, continues to take a horrific toll.
In November, a summit marking the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference will take place in Nairobi. I encourage Member States to participate at the highest levels and to make firm political and financial commitments to realize the Programme of Action of the ICPD.
Carrying forward the vision of the ICPD will unlock opportunities for those left behind and help pave the way for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development for all.
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[size=36]Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on World Population Day[/size]
Thursday, 11 July 2019 11:46
Want to improve women’s lives and countries’ prospects for prosperity?
Expand contraceptive choice.
Her life. Her choice. Our future.
Women have a right to make their own decisions about whether, when and how often to become pregnant. That right was reaffirmed in 1994 in Cairo at the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where 179 governments agreed that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development.
In Cairo, we imagined a future in which every pregnancy is intended because every woman and girl would have autonomy over her own body and be able to choose whether, when and with whom to have children.
We imagined a world where no woman would die giving life because – no matter her location or socioeconomic or legal status – she would have access to quality maternal health care.
We imagined a time where everyone would live in safety, free from violence and with respect and dignity, and where no girl would be forced to marry or have her genitals mutilated.
Since 1994, governments, activists, civil society organizations and institutions such as UNFPA, have rallied behind the Programme of Action and pledged to tear down barriers that have stood between women and girls and their health, rights and power to chart their own futures.
Yet, despite considerable gains over the past 25 years, we still have a long way to go to live up to the promise of Cairo. Too many continue to be left behind. Too many are still unable to enjoy their rights.
More than 200 million women and girls want to delay or prevent pregnancy but don’t have the means. And it is the poorest women and girls, members of indigenous, rural and marginalized communities, and those living with disabilities, who face the greatest gaps in services.
It is time to act now, urgently, to ensure that every woman and girl is able to exercise her rights. With greater contraceptive options, they can prosper as equal partners in sustainable development.
The cost of inaction is simply too high: more women and girls dying, more unintended pregnancies, more girls denied equal access to education, and more women denied participating in and benefiting from economic growth, the potential of individuals and societies squandered.
There is no time to waste. Our future depends on it.
At UNFPA, we are working with countries and partners to deliver on the world we imagined 25 years ago. Our sights are firmly set on achieving three zeros by 2030:
• zero unmet need for family planning;
• zero preventable maternal deaths; and
• zero gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.
High-quality data will help us zero in on where the needs are greatest and end the invisibility of those furthest behind.
At a summit to be convened by Denmark, Kenya and UNFPA in Nairobi this November, the international community will have an opportunity to recommit to the promises they made in Cairo and transform the world we imagined in the ICPD Programme of Action into a reality for every woman and girl. The summit will draw heads of state, thought-leaders, civil society organizations, young people, international financial institutions, private sector representatives and thousands of others who have a stake in the ongoing pursuit of sexual and reproductive health for all. We all have a stake in this.
On this World Population Day, I call on all of us – on governments, civil society, communities, and people from all sectors and walks of life – to be bold and courageous, to do what is right for women and girls around the world, to make real the possibilities that come with completing the unfinished business of Cairo. Usher in a world where promises made are promises kept, and reproductive rights and choices are a reality for all. This is the world we all want and can have if we join together in Nairobi and beyond with concrete commitments and far more resources to complete the journey we began 25 years ago.
Women and girls cannot wait. Countries and communities cannot wait. The time to act on promises made and to deliver on family planning is now.
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